International Asia A little tiff over LGBT normalisation in Malaysia

A little tiff over LGBT normalisation in Malaysia

Malaysian conservative leader calls out Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah and LGBT rights activist Numan Afifi regarding Eid greeting on Twitter

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A Malaysian conservative Muslim rights activist called out Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah for his alleged lack of concern regarding the ‘normalisation’ of LGBT in the country.

Rafidah Hanim Mokhtar is the president of the anti-LGBT group WAFIQ (Women’s Alliance for Family and Quality Education). In a tweet, she said that she has issues regarding Minister Abdullah’s concern about Numan Afifi being interrogated by the Malaysian police after a UN convention last March in Geneva.

Numan Afifi, outspoken LGBT rights activist in Malaysia, has spoken at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) in Geneva regarding the current state of LGBT rights in the country and recent government interventions. He was then interrogated by Malaysian police, and Minister Abdullah has expressed ‘concern’ regarding the issue.

On June 4, Afifi tweeted a celebratory message accompanied by a cartoon illustration in support of LGBT during Eid al-Fitr. The tweet and translation are as follows:

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Translation: Special shout out for all friends who can not celebrate aidilfitri with their respective partners due to homophobic stigma and hatred. May your perseverance in manifesting the ultimate love be rewarded. #WeAreFamily

Dr. Rafidah then retweeted Numan’s post accompanied with a thread outlining her criticism of the growing awareness regarding LGBT rights in the country. She said that Numan’s “disgusting greetings on holy Eid” as well as how Minister Abdullah retweets similar posts is part of the ‘normalisation’ of LGBT.

“I am appalled at his attitude & the pious image of @saifuddinabd, but totally has no regards nor responsibility for promotion of homosexuality we see each day thru human rights defenders. It’s no longer about BASIC rights, it’s promotional of lifestyle, through Raya greetings,” Dr. Rafidah tweeted.

She concluded the thread by saying that she will talk to her friends and family regarding who they “put in power,” preferably “someone who puts Islam above human rights.”

Minister Abdullah has vocally expressed support for the protection of human rights in Malaysia as well as his openness to discussing issues regarding the LGBT.

“Human rights issues are no longer taboo to be discussed openly—even issues like LGBT, which was previously off the table I think—we can discuss all kinds of things,” he said in an interview with the New Mandala.

Numan Afifi responded to Dr. Rafidah’s homophobic tweets with a defiant message:

“We’re queer & we’re here. We got nothing to lose & refuse to stay in the closet anymore. We’ve enough of your lies & bigotry. We’re empowered. We’re beautiful the way we are & ready to show the world. Happy Pride Month & Salam Aidilfitri! #QueerPower #SayaGaySayaOkay #QueerRaya

Read the rest of Dr. Rafidah’s tweets here:

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